Imagining Caleb playing Stray is all fun and games until the cat gets hurt. I watched a streamer cry the other day after the cat fell and got up limping and if you don't think Caleb would have to pause twenty minutes into his video to go on a "who kicks a cat" rant as he cries about a fake cat limping and Essek tries to comfort him as his chat just keeps spamming "The cat's fine! The cat's fine!", you're wrong.

it’s like, yasha treated molly with such kindness and gentleness when she was still just learning how to be kind and gentle in the first place, and as a result molly became the person he is and he repaid her all that kindness and more……. like they were both so lost and trying so hard to find a sense of self, and they found it through taking care of each other, they learned how to be people again through the friendship they had with each other….. a woman who has only ever been rewarded for her anger makes one of the first decisions she can remember since the death of her wife and it’s to take this person who can’t remember their own name and who everyone is immediately a little afraid of and give him a friend and a family……….. man my whole chest hurts

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When you pull a Fearne move (a whole braid as “spoils”) there’s really two type of friend reactions.

(Parental) concern.

vs.

That’s my GIRL!

essek grew up in a heavily restrictive religious society that exposed him to light (pain) to bring him closer to holiness which is what makes him close off and when he finally opens up its jester (a cleric, a ‘holy’ woman) who gives him a parasol to protect him from that pain. like he doesn’t have to suffer meaninglessly and even through his self hatred he takes it and uses it to make her happy, healing himself in the process by kindness to another (when he is so convinced that he is selfish inherently and cannot do good for the pure sake of its existence). dear fucking god i am. Unwell.

taliesin’s tendency to play characters who are outcasts

molly’s kindness despite being labeled as “other” for as long as he can remember, his determination to leave every place better than he found it and bring a little color into the life of everyone he meets

ashton’s intense and passionate care for others who have been deemed weird or different or a bother to proper society— just like them

percy’s self-inflicted isolation, both tangible and in his emotional relationships, due to a combination of his guilt and obsession with vengeance, eventually evolving into a fierce protectiveness of those he loves

caduceus’ gentle and oddly calming sense of loneliness as he saw his family leave, one by one, his desire to always listen and support others so they don’t feel the same

taliesin’s ability to take characters who may often be seen as brash or strange or just other and channeling that into creating people who want those they let in to never feel alone if they have anything to say about it: sometimes gently with tea and sometimes aggressively with a giant fucking hammer

every taliesin character is a gift to this world istg

If I had a nickel for every time a fire-themed caster on Critical Role killed a random encounter bandit leader with a Scorching Ray, I’d have two nickels.  Which isn’t a lot, but between Caleb and Fearne, you’d expect it to be more.

A quiet little detail that I love Lou Wilson picked up is where, in the first episode, Nydas is introduced as the Dragon of Avalir but then by the time we get to the final episode, and the fall of the city, no doubt very aware that he is not going to survive the next few hours, he specifically refers to himself as the Last Dragon of Avalir.

I find it really funny that I've seen multiple people joke about how the incredibly wary, suspicious mighty nein would have figured out Dusk's deal right away, while the more trusting bell's hells didn’t even bother with an insight check because you are all very, very right.

And it brings to mind what I talked about during exu calamity, about how in fiction there’s really no such thing as an inherently negative trait. Whether a trait has a positive or negative outcome depends wholly on the narrative it is in. A tragedy is only a tragedy because the hero is in the wrong story.

In the mighty nein's narrative, suspicion and wariness were traits to overcome. They caused nothing but strife and tensions within the group (Nott stealing from Fjord, Fjord and Molly both threatening Caleb, Caleb and Molly both being pressured into revealing their backstories before they were ready, Beau and Caleb's bowlgate clash, the list goes on). They were handed suspicious npc after suspicious npc, and were always rewarded once trusting them (Yussa, the Gentleman, Artagan, even Essek). Their villains were always openly villains, even the ones they briefly worked with such as Lucien and Avantika. The nein could only come together once they learned to trust each other, and once that lesson had been learned and made an integral part of the story, it would have been cruel to turn it against them. Thus, campaign 2 became a story about the rewards of extending trust.

The Bell's Hells, meanwhile, started out as much more trusting. Backstories were revealed much earlier, and never by force. There have been very little inter-group conflict, and what there have been (Laudna and Imogen's argument, Chetney's initial antagonism toward Dorian) are of a very different nature. If anything, for the Bell's Hells to truly come together they are going to need to be pushed and challenged from the outside (Dusk, Delilah depending on how you see it) because they aren’t as likely to push each other the way the nein did unprompted.

I find it really funny that I've seen multiple people joke about how the incredibly wary, suspicious mighty nein would have figured out Dusk's deal right away, while the more trusting bell's hells didn’t even bother with an insight check because you are all very, very right.

And it brings to mind what I talked about during exu calamity, about how in fiction there’s really no such thing as an inherently negative trait. Whether a trait has a positive or negative outcome depends wholly on the narrative it is in. A tragedy is only a tragedy because the hero is in the wrong story.

In the mighty nein's narrative, suspicion and wariness were traits to overcome. They caused nothing but strife and tensions within the group (Nott stealing from Fjord, Fjord and Molly both threatening Caleb, Caleb and Molly both being pressured into revealing their backstories before they were ready, Beau and Caleb's bowlgate clash, the list goes on). They were handed suspicious npc after suspicious npc, and were always rewarded once trusting them (Yussa, the Gentleman, Artagan, even Essek). Their villains were always openly villains, even the ones they briefly worked with such as Lucien and Avantika. The nein could only come together once they learned to trust each other, and once that lesson had been learned and made an integral part of the story, it would have been cruel to turn it against them. Thus, campaign 2 became a story about the rewards of extending trust.

The Bell's Hells, meanwhile, started out as much more trusting. Backstories were revealed much earlier, and never by force. There have been very little inter-group conflict, and what there have been (Laudna and Imogen's argument, Chetney's initial antagonism toward Dorian) are of a very different nature. If anything, for the Bell's Hells to truly come together they are going to need to be pushed and challenged from the outside (Dusk, Delilah depending on how you see it) because they aren’t as likely to push each other the way the nein did unprompted.

I have so many thoughts on how love clearly works differently in the Feywild, or rather how its beauty and wonder is entirely undone and shattered by the lack of compassion and the selfishness that that plane demands from its inhabitants. 

The Feywild is so volatile and ruthless in its nature; of course that would result in a lot of people who prioritize their own needs over other people’s needs. Or people who have lost the ability to recognize that the consequences of every action ripple through the lives of others, and that it matters

This is why stories of fey creatures learning about compassion and love are so enthralling. It’s why the depth of Loquatius’ love for Laerryn was so remarkable, why Fearne’s growing compassion for her friends has been fascinating to watch and why Jester’s relationship to Artagan was so complicated. It’s also why I’m not surprised by Morri’s behavior. Or the Calloways. It seems cold, but I really think they all thought they were doing what they were doing out of love for Fearne. Just goes to show that love devoid of compassion is a pretty scary and dangerous motivator.

the image of all of them standing there for three full minutes watching laudna's ball of darkness beeline all the way across a plateau until it unceremoniously falls off a cliff

You’re Vespin Chloras. You’re one of the most brilliant arcane minds during the peak of arcane knowledge in the history of Exandria. It came to you in a dream. You’ve cracked the code of the Matron’s ritual. You can do it. You can become a God. You realize, though, setting out to strike down a prime deity is morally wrong.

That’s okay though, You’re Vespin Chloras. You’re one of the most brilliant arcane minds during the peak of arcane knowledge in the history of Exandria. You can use this power. You can strike down one of the Betrayers. They’re locked away, the world will never know. You can remake the Betrayer’s Domain in your image, as you see fit.

You’re Vespin Chloras, and it’s dark. The Candles are lit. The Ritual has be gone. There’s a ripple of wind. It’s hot. Something’s wrong. You hear a laughter. Deep and bellowing. Your genius begins to slip from your mind. You don’t know where you are. Darkness. Screaming and agony replaces rituals and runes.

You’re Vespin Chloras? You think? When you have a moment of Clarity. All you’re sure of though is The Master is right. It’s mortals’ fault you’re like this. Their shortsightedness. Their hubris. You must have revenge. You must make them hurt.

You’re Vespin Chloras! What has happened?! Where are you?! Who is this ma–oh. You realize what’s happened. The Lord of the Hells seduced you with knowledge. Planted the hubris for the ritual in your mind. That’s not important now, though, this man…this Zerxus, you know his name, you don’t know how, has granted you but a moment’s clarity again.

You’re Vespin Chloras. You’re the most brilliant arcane minds during the peak of arcane knowledge in Exandria. A moment’s clarity is all you need. You grab the Mace. Stop time. Help this man save the world before the darkness and hatred returns. History will remember you as a villain, but that doesn’t matter. You helped save the world. 

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still can't get over how caduceus clay is literally the best character ever conceived? taliesin jaffe really showed up to his weekly d&d game every thursday like "i will now say the most insanely and effortlessly wise, worldview-altering, true shit you have ever heard and yes, i will do it as a 2m tall spooky aroace pink cow man. he will say shit like 'help it's again' too"

striking fear and confusion into the hearts of Bell's Hells doesn't work because they're already (always) confused and they're too confused to be fearful. can you please clarify the details of your ominous threat :)

That awkward moment when you have to introduce your polycule to your dad in their moon destroyer room but you’re now 50 or 60 years older than him and his weird roommate/moon destroyer crafting mentor who kidnaps children and has almost tried to murder you before is spider crawling across the ceiling while the old werewolf you’re maybe gonna fuck is licking magic fae rocks while your mom covers your mad max fury road chicken car tracks